The Hawks dealt young forward Cam Reddish nearly a month before the trade deadline. Atlanta’s general manager and president of basketball operations, Travis Schlenk, said that by making this trade now, he can better assess what to do at the deadline, as Sarah Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes.
“I’ve seen some people say, ‘Why wouldn’t they wait?’ We wanted to see if just a little tweak would have an impact,” Schlenk said. “This gives us two, three weeks before the trade deadline to see if a small tweak does kind of change the trajectory of the season. So, by doing this early, it gives us that little runway to evaluate. And, you know, again, our hope is that this will sort of change the course of the season for us.”
The Hawks added Kevin Knox and a first-round pick in the deal with the Knicks. Knox probably won’t play much, but Atlanta can now go with a wing rotation of De’Andre Hunter, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Kevin Huerter without trying to find minutes for Reddish.
The first-rounder, which Charlotte owed New York, was a motivation factor for Schlenk. It gives the Hawks another asset it can dangle in future deals.
“We feel like this pick from Charlotte, even though it does have protections, I think my analytics group said there’s a 90% chance over the next four years we get this pick, so we think it’s a real first-round draft pick, it’s not a fake first-round draft pick,” Schlenk said. “And the one thing I’ll say about draft picks, everybody values draft picks. Every team might not value a player, but 29 other teams will value a real first-round draft pick.”
Reddish expressed his desire to be moved to a team where he could play more. He was averaging 23.4 MPG in 34 games this season with Atlanta. The Hawks weren’t down on Reddish’s ability but the wing logjam, along with salary constraints that would have made it difficult to extend him, compelled them to comply to his wishes.
“He’s super high-talent. We all see that. He’s got great length, he’s got great size, he’s got great skill level. But we’re trying to blend the team together, as well,” Schlenk said. “So we have to take all that stuff into consideration. He could certainly go on and have an All-Star caliber career, and I wouldn’t be shocked at all by that.”
Coach Nate McMillan was well aware of Reddish’s desire to be moved, but noted the former Duke forward remained professional throughout the season, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic tweets.
“I thought he handled it the right way,” McMillan said. “He didn’t make a big deal about it in the press.”